Skip to Content

How to Know the Best Price to Charge for HVAC Side Work

How much should you charge for side gigs as a HVAC technician? Here are 6 factors that will help you decide the best price to charge for HVAC side work.

Side works are more or less the little secrets of service technicians. Although business owners hate side works, yet many technicians depend on them for extra income. There are handfuls of reasons why technicians, especially HVAC technicians do side work. Those reasons usually centre on money or vision.

However, most side works are for close family members or friends, but there are times when side works are done under unethical circumstances. Side works are a great way to earn extra money as a technician. Many clients will gladly have you perform the needed repair outside of the normal work channels.

Recommended:  How to Get HVAC Technician & Contractors License in Alabama

HVAC technicians that have done side works will probably understand personal accountability. Working for a company allows you to spread the accountability around the team. Nevertheless, when you do a side job, you have that accountability all to yourself. This personal accountability will do wonders to grow you as a technician.

3 Things You Must Do Before Taking On a HVAC Side Gig

As a HVAC technician, before moving ahead to take side works or start a side gig, it is pertinent you scan through the fine print on your contract to ensure you are in the clear legally. Take your time to read carefully to make sure there is not a potential conflict of interest or specific policies such as a non-compete clause.

Recommended:  How to Get HVAC Technician & Contractors License in New York

Look specifically for sections that discuss how long the non-compete applies, what type of work you are prohibited from doing, and whether or not the non-compete is only regional. If you fail to do this, you could be setting yourself up to get fired or worse, sued. It is better safe than sorry!

Another simple way to avoid any potential conflicts of interest is to set up a meeting with the human resources or your corporate legal rep. There is no need to go into specifics about the client or the size of the project or the pay. However, a quick rundown of the basic information will help you avoid some of the major pitfalls, such as poaching your company’s clients, unintentionally stealing intellectual property, or using their resources on your side gig.

Recommended:  How Much Does Insurance Cost for HVAC Business in 2023?

Although it is rare nowadays, there are still those who think an employee will not be able to give his or her best effort at a nine-to-five job while also focusing on a part-time gig. They believe that by having a side work, you are in some ways cheating on your employer.

The ideal way to put your boss at ease is to have that initial discussion “Here’s what I’m working on conversation” and assure them of your commitment. Then, set strict boundaries for yourself and stick to them. Keep in mind that after this discussion, your performance at work might be viewed under a microscope, always make sure you are on time for meetings, meeting milestones, and just generally firing on all corners.

Recommended:  How to Run and Grow your HVAC Business Successfully

How Much Should You Charge for a HVAC Side Work

Most business owners and homeowners know nothing about their HVAC systems. Even the most enthusiastic DIYers often find central air and heating systems a bit beyond their expertise. Also, mishandling an HVAC system can lead to further damage or potential injury.

Therefore, they prefer to hire professionals to do the job. In addition to having the knowledge and tools to repair HVAC system, these professionals will usually be familiar with the newest products and techniques. The amount you charge for a side work should depend on a few things.

– Firstly, if you are working for a friend or family member then you should not be trying to make too much money. If you are working for a random person you do not really know, then you can add a little something depending on how hard the job would be.

Recommended:  How to Get HVAC Technician & Contractors License in Florida

– If you are freelancing on the side for a company, or some sort of personal business, then you should tack on some extra to cover anything you might end up being liable for during the course of the work. In addition, the nature of the work will tell how much you charge.

– If you are just running some anti-viruses and checking cable ends and that sort of thing, then that does not really require much skill and your charges will be less. If you are doing serious cabling through walls, attics, basements, etc. or troubleshooting networking issues and such, then you are looking at adding 20-30/hr.

Recommended:  10 Best HVAC Schools in 2023 [Programs Included]

– If you are coming in to set up a new AD server, inputting all the users, setting permissions, deploying volume licensing etc. then that can add up to 50-100/hr. Another factor that will also matter is if you are going to be coming back to this customer or not.

– If it is a one-time gig then you can leave prices where they are, but if it is a client you are trying to start up a contract with, then you will have to reconsider your price. You can usually gauge this by the contact person, especially how they react to your price. Howbeit, below are few factors to consider when choosing the best price for your side work:

Recommended:  How to Start a HVAC Business in 2023

6 Factors to Consider When Fixing a Price for your HVAC Side Work

  1. What Services the Client Is Asking For

To know the best price for your services, you have to know what your client want. Is the project for a small business or is it for a rapidly growing start-up? Is it for your mother or is it for a stranger? Take into consideration what the client is asking for, and who requires the service. Also, what is the standard rate in the area where you/the client live(s)? Consider the value you are giving them.

  1. Be Honest About Your Skill Level

How much experience do you have in this area? Have it in mind that just like entry-level positions at companies, when you are starting, you will be on the lower end of the pay scale. Also, be honest about the time it will take you to finish a project. It is a typically good measure, especially when first starting, to give deadlines farther in advance than you think it will take to finish.

  1. Consider Hourly vs. Project-Based Payment Options
Recommended:  15 Best Types of HVAC Tool Bags in 2023 [Features Included]

Charging by the project is best for when you have done a similar project before and know how long/how much effort it takes. For example, if you are rewiring a circuit, consider the floors or distance you have to cover. A one-room job versus a full building job would have different costs. Think about the value that you are bringing them and their business.

  1. Consider Supplies and Other Materials

Know what you will need to complete the job and do not forget to include the price of expenses you may have to cover, on behalf of the client. Take a few minutes to consider that before you give your client your final price estimate.

  1. Ask Your Client Their Budget
Recommended:  How to Get HVAC Technician & Contractors License in Alabama

Many technicians worry about how to price a new project proposal, and if their price will be within their prospective client’s budget. Why not ask the client what they want to pay. Many will give some ballpark of what their budget is for a project. This will help you come up with a better proposal, and more likely to land the gig.

  1. Never Be Afraid to Negotiate

Note there is no standard rate for freelance work. No one will ever turn you away for work if you request a bit of leeway in the budget. Everything is negotiable. If you bid too low for a side work and do not realize it until after you start working, it is a learning experience. Try to raise your rates and bid higher the next time you see a similar gig.

Recommended:  How Much Does Insurance Cost for HVAC Business in 2023?


Setting the best price for your side work is a complicated task, one that takes either plenty of business acumen and experience or a wild guess. If you price your proposed deal too high, you run the risk of losing the deal to a more aggressively priced competitor or pricing yourself out of the customer’s comfort zone.